Sunday, 30 March 2008
I've got a bad feeling about this
Deep cleaning of hospitals throughout England is supposed to be completed in every hospital by Monday - but alas, what a shock, with every target our government sets, this target's not going to be met.
Now I am not going to sit here and say any cleaning of hospitals is a bad idea, beit "deep" or otherwise. Matters of cost and effectiveness are another matter of course (MRSA/CDiff spread from person to person so all it takes is one person to carry one of these infections and...), but the principle of 'the government wants to give our hospitals a damn good scrubbing' is rather agreeable.
But although I don't dislike the policy, it's the politics that worries me.
Gordon Brown is a stupid man. Ben Bradshaw is even worse, but I'm going to go after GB on this one. Announcing, with typical GB pomp and 'love me' grandeur, that all hospitals are going to get a "deep clean" in order to tackle MRSA and CDiff, was a stupid thing to do. The govt made out that this big gesture-policy was the answer to solving the MRSA/CDiff crisis and by announcing it in such a big way have set themselves up to fail.
Every hospital is getting a deep clean. Does GB, his advisers, anyone of use to him not realise that all it will take is ONE SINGLE case of MRSA or CDiff being contracted by a patient within two weeks of the deep clean before the whole problem comes back to haunt him and then that is the big, new, bad story, where yet again Labour are getting fisted on health?
Then, once a month has gone by, if just one hospital has two, three or four cases in that time, then the government are going to get hammered with front pages of our (ridiculous) media proclaiming - "Deep Clean Fails", "Brown in deep sh*t over deep clean" for the new outbreak sweeping through our hospitals. And we all know that, with these infections being as complicated and infectious and politically poisonous as they are, they're always going to come back to bite.
Really, what do you think the chances are that no one throughout the whole of the NHS system in England in the next few weeks will contract MRSA or CDiff and the media won't pounce on it and pound him so hard with editorials and personalised sob stories that he needs hospitalisation?
As a result, Gordo now has two problems. One, his credibility over yet another big, bold, stupid statement is shafted because the perception he gave, that he was going to rid the NHS of disease, was never possible. While never exactly saying it, he dawned the emperor's new matron's outfit and made it seem like he was going to save the day and eradicate them, but what he's effectively done is taken out a massive loan to pay off his massive debts, on an even bigger interest rate.
Unfortunately, Monday, two weeks, a month from now is payday! (and there's no new loan to take out to put off paying the devil).
As a result, Gordon Brown who took the lead role on this policy, is in for a ruddy good kicking for failure. This is reason #1 why he has played bad politics on this front.
The other is that when this 'new outbreak' breaks, public confidence in the NHS and NHS safety is also shot. The last thing this country and this government needs is another NHS crisis story all over the papers, with the PM now having no clue, no credibility and no frsh ideas that anyone will trust (because he f*cked up his last big play).
It worries me that no one around him thought this through when it should've neen so simple to foresee. It worries me that we can't get all the hospitals cleaned, even when there's easily enough time and the money in place. It worries me that yet again, Gordon Brown, in his attempt to look like he's leading the country, has painted over the cracks when we need pollyfilla, not paint.
It worries me that this policy won't get rid of MRSA and CDiff, we're out a fair few £millions and we're no closer to the end goal.